Will auto insurance pay me if my car is stolen?

Most comprehensive coverage policies will cover you if your car is stolen. The average cost of comprehensive insurance nationally was $148.04 in 2015.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Apr 29, 2022

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Things to Remember...

  • A comprehensive auto insurance policy will protect your car from theft, losses, and damage not caused by a collision
  • Always file a police report if your car is stolen, and then call your insurance company
  • Without proper coverage, if your car is stolen insurance won’t pay out

If your car is stolen does insurance cover it? That’s a big question and the answer is “maybe.”

Whether auto insurance will pay you for your car vehicle depends upon your policy and the type of auto insurance you have.

These types of comprehensive policies usually protect you and your car against problems not caused by collisions, such as theft, vandalism, and breakdowns.

What to Do If Your Car Is Stolen

If your car is stolen you should first call the police about the theft and file a police report, then call your car insurance carrier to let them know about the stolen car.

Be sure you know what your car insurance policy covers before something like this happens.

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What if my car is stolen, will my insurance cover it?

Does AAA cover stolen cars? Does liability coverage cover theft?

The insurance coverage you purchased determines whether you will be covered in the event of theft. If your car gets stolen, insurance companies won’t cover you if you only have liability coverage.

So yes, if your car is stolen insurance does cover it if you have comprehensive coverage. But liability insurance doesn’t cover theft.

After you file a police report, call your insurance company and let them know that your car has been stolen. Your auto insurance company will likely tell you to wait a certain number of days (determined by the individual insurance company).

If the stolen car isn’t found when that time has passed, you will be reimbursed at the current market value of your car. If the car is found but damaged, you will be paid the repair costs, less any applicable deductible.

Will auto insurance pay me if items are stolen from my car, but my car is not stolen?

Unfortunately, your comprehensive auto insurance policy only covers items stolen from a car that is meant to be a permanent part of the car or that can’t function without the car.

This would likely include items like a built-in, factory-installed navigation system or stereo, but not a dashboard-mounted GPS unit or iPod.

If you have homeowners or renters insurance, these policies should cover any personal items stolen out of your car, regardless of whether your car was parked in your driveway or in a parking lot.

If the items are valuable, file a police report for the stolen items, and then call your insurance company. If the items cost less to replace than the deductible on your insurance policy, then you should probably forget the claim and just replace them yourself.

When you call your insurance company, ask about your personal property coverage and the items that are not covered. Items excluded, or with limited coverage, include money, jewelry, furs, watches, and business property.

Your home insurance will not help you with any damage to your vehicle, so you will have to call both your homeowners and your auto insurance companies if your car was damaged during the theft of the items inside.

Will insurance pay me if my car is stolen, but later found damaged?

Most car insurance companies have a set number of days that they’ll wait for a stolen car to be found before they pay on a claim.

If yours is found before that time has expired, but is found damaged, you will need to decide whether it’s worth paying your deductible and having your insurance company pay for the damage or just to pay to fix the car out of your own pocket.

If your stolen car is found badly damaged and the insurance company decides to write it off as “totaled,” they will cut you a check only for the market value of the car, not for how much you originally paid for it or necessarily how much a replacement car will cost.

If your car is not found after the time is up, they will treat the auto insurance claim the same way. You will receive a payment for the value of the vehicle only.

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How does car theft affect auto insurance rates?

My car has been stolen, will my insurance go up? Not necessarily.

With comprehensive coverage, your car is insured against theft. And the insurance company is only liable for the current market value of the car.

That said, theft rates in your area can affect your car insurance rates. If you live in an area where a lot of cars are stolen, insurance companies will consider that a high-risk area and will set rates accordingly.

What else does comprehensive insurance cover?

What is the difference between comprehensive and liability insurance?

Although some state auto insurance laws only require drivers to carry a liability insurance policy on their car, it is a good idea to also have a comprehensive and collision policy.

A comprehensive insurance policy will protect your vehicle from losses and damage not caused by a collision. It also covers vehicles damaged by you, but not in an accident.

There are exceptions to every policy, but generally, comprehensive coverage includes losses from fire, earthquake, explosions, falling or flying objects, like the neighbor’s son’s baseball, vandalism, theft, floods, riots, and breakage of glass, as well as damage to your car caused by hitting an animal.

In the event of a stolen car, most comprehensive insurance policies will also help pay for a rental car.

You are required to wait two days until the rental coverage kicks in, in case your car wasn’t actually stolen and you merely forgot that you lent it to a friend or family member.

However, most rental companies will waive the 48-hour requirement in the case of a stolen vehicle. Check with your insurance carrier before you rent the car and find out the amount of time they’ll cover the rental for, as well as the maximum cost that they’ll cover per day.

It’s a good idea to be fully protected with as much auto insurance as you can afford. Find out the rates in your area using the look-up tool on this page.

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